The Election: Day Six

Paul Martin continued to hide in the weeds today. Jack Layton stumbled on healthcare and Gilles Duceppe talked of the BQ taking all 75 seats in Quebec.

After struggling valiantly all week to attract some attention to the NDP, Layton muddied the waters of the NDP position re healthcare today. Layton says his party will focus on stopping the flow of public money into private health care, not on shutting down private clinics.

Campaigning in Vancouver's Chinatown Sunday, Layton said private clinics are a "fundamental aspect" of the health-care system founded by former Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas and not much can be done about them. Layton says he wants to stop tax dollars from boosting the bottom lines of big health-care corporations.

"Our focus is to keep public health-care dollars going to public and non-profit facilities. What happens with people in the privacy of their own relationship financially, that's up to them."

Layton said private clinics have been around from the beginning. He said the NDP focus is on what happens to the public tax dollars.Layton said: "We want them going to non-profit and public facilities and services."

Layton's statement seems to contradict what the NDP has been saying about stopping the privatization of health care. If he doesn't clarify his position quickly, he's going to lose one of the few clear issues on which the NDP had been able to differentiate itself from the Liberals.

Meanwhile Duceppe boasted of a possible Bloc sweep in Quebec. Bolstered by a 30-point lead in opinion polls over the Liberals,Duceppe said the sovereigntist Bloc will win all of Quebec's 75 ridings, effectively making the Liberals disappear from the political landscape. Does Duceppe know something we don't or has he fallen prey to a flight of rhetoric?

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